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H.I.V, also known as human immunodeficiency virus, is a chronic, life-threatening illness that impacts a person's life in terms of handling the disease's complexity and impending death (Simoni et al., 381). It is also a sexually transmitted illness that has been shown to damage the human immune system, specifically the T cells (CD4), blocking them from guarding the body against disease. As H.I.V is not treated, T cells in the body are weakened to the point that they are unable to protect the body from any pathogens that function as opportunists, thereby killing the human. When the human body is unable to fight diseases, then it means that the T cell count is below 200 cells/mm3. This means that the person has AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome). This essay will elaborate further on this disease, its spread and the treatment needed.
H.I.V is a mutation of Simian Immunodeficiency disease that came from a chimpanzee bite back in Central Africa. In the 1800's the virus spread across Africa till to the U.S in 1970 (El-Sadr et al., 998). In 1982, the health officials named the condition AIDS where scientist later renamed it to H.I.V after discovering that the disease logs itself in the body's fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. Usually, H.I.V is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse. The virus could also be transferred from the mother to the child through breastfeeding or during birth processes (Sharp & Hahn 259). There are several ways which H.I.V could be spread. For instance, when an infected person shares sharp objects like needles and razor blade with another person, then the object that is contaminated with the virus will be transmitted to the other person.
Different sign and symptoms of this disease also depend on the person. The best way first is to go through a test to find out the truth. During the early stages of this condition, the symptoms have a flu-like experience like night sweats, chills, fever, sore throats, mouth ulcers, and swollen lymph nodes that are observed within two weeks after the infection. In normal circumstances, the condition takes several weeks before the H.I.V infection is evident when the patient is tested (AIDS n.d). At this stage, these people are usually considered to be highly infectious. Later the stage then moves to the chronic or late stage called the H.I.V infection stage. The length of this phase depends whether the person is on the antiretroviral medication. This period is known to last for ten years or below. Individuals who also don't use the drugs tend to have profuse night sweats, rapid weight loss, chronic diarrhea, unexplained tiredness, as well as the anus, mouth and genital sores.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 36.9 people are infected with HIV/AIDS by 2014 and out of the total, 2.6 are kids under the ages of 15 years. Two million of these were newly born babies (Nelson et al., 277). In the U.S alone, they estimated that there is a high rate of the spread of the disease because every year, about 50,000 people get infected with the infected (AIDS n.d). When a comparison is done between the ethnic and racial groups in the United States, the HIV is known to affect mostly the African Americans (Nelson et al., 278). For instance, in 2014, Dallas and the African Americans had the highest rate of infection up to 56.4 % per 100,000 people. Across all groups, only African America group had the highest percentage of H.I.V infected citizens to up to 44% living with AIDS. In Dallas, it is estimated that 35.9% of all ages live with H.I.V per 100,000 people (Brawner 638). Men were mostly seen to be infected than women in this condition because most of them had sex with other men. This accounted for 73.5% who were newly diagnosed with H.I.V (Brawner 640).
CDC is a center that gives and upholds data concerning the trends of HIV in the United States. Also, it assists and finances the health departments by analyzing the collected information in different locations. Laboratories on the other hand also use CDC to report all people that tested positive in the H.I.V demographic, personal history, residence, clinical status, and treatment. Collected data is then analyzed by CDC where they display the information by race, age, sex, transmission category and jurisdiction (CDC n.d). Therefore the primary purpose of the CDC is to collect and provide information about the HIV infection, the progression of the disease and the characters of the infected persons (CDC n.d). The illness according to the Centers for disease prevention and control, HIV/AIDS is categorized as a killer disease because of lack of cure.
Currently, there is no cure for H.I.V, but there are various ART regimes that have a proper diagnosis and treatment which are known to give the patient the potential of living a long and healthy life. They also help reduce the spread of this disease from one person to another. In the U.S, there are several health cares where people voluntarily present themselves to different clinics, hospitals, labs or even to an online test (Bylander 444). Despite the fact that it is not mandatory, most pregnant women are usually advised to take the H.I.V test because of the baby delivery process. Individuals that are sexually active or engage themselves in high-risk behaviors are mostly encouraged to screen themselves regularly.
The H.I.V diagnostic test is usually in three ways; antibody, antigen tests, and nuclear acid (Bylander 447). The antibodies, in this case, detect the presence of proteins that help fight H.I.V, while the RNA and Antigen tests detect the spread of HIV in the human body. Lastly, the follow-up diagnostic test purposely recognizes the virus and other antibodies that might be against H.I.V (Branson 102). At home, patients could also make use of the test kits that allow one to send their blood sample to the nearest lab within twenty-four hours. According to Branson (104), the strategies of H.I.V testing can be performed by any person who is willing to increase and access the effectiveness of the diagnosis as well as the potential of decreasing the infection.
When people are living in very high risks of getting HIV, the PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) comes in handy because it lowers the chances of people getting infected. If appropriately prescribed by a medical practitioner it is highly effective in preventing the spread, but when poorly used it is less efficient especially when there is no consistency. When compared to patients who take injections for HIV prevention, the PrEP reduces the risk by 70 percent (CDC n.d). Young volunteers aged between the ages of 18-75 also accepted the responsibilities to go to the communities that had the LGBTQ to reduce the spread of the HIV killer disease. The LGBTQ communities have also been equipped with healthcare facilities to help overcome the social stigma that regards the use of PrEP among the lesbians and gay (CDC n.d).
In Canada and the U.S, the HIV infection continues to disproportionately affect the African American communities where nearly half the population are infected with AIDS. The primary reason for the rapid spread is that African Americans are believed to engage themselves in sexual diseases than other racial groups (Nelson et al., 274). Other social factors like education, access to health care systems, religious beliefs, oppression and family dynamics are seen to be the leading causes of the spread of HIV/AIDS (Nelson et al., 279). According to UNAIDS, HIV is one of the most severe health issues that affect the development of people (Nelson et al., 276). Globally, in 2015, approximately at least 36.7 percent people had HIV. Statistically, an estimated 78 million people of the world population live with HIV, and 35 million are known to have died with AIDS-related illnesses.
One of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of HIV infection is by practicing safe sex as well as undergoing a routine test to know their status. The prevention of this killer disease in the African American communities takes more effort like mass wide-spread prevention and education techniques. This way general knowledge will be spread concerning the condition. Another way is by offering free testing and low-cost on-site individual counseling to encourage citizens concerning their health status (Jolly et al., 61).
The epidemic of HIV as elaborated in the essay is a disease that is known to kill a lot of people, particularly the African Americans. Beyond risky sexual practices, various factors contribute to the spread of HIV. Despite the fact that HIV/AIDS has no cure, there are several ways it can be prevented such as choosing a monogamous life, using condoms, abstinence from sex, or by the use of the PrEP drug. Through the identification of specific multilevel factors that lead to the spread of HIV, one can curb the epidemic through appropriate education and treatment. The best and the most efficient way of preventing HIV from spreading is through mass communication and training.
AIDS: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2015). What is HIV/AIDS? Retrieved
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